Navy at Rice
The Week After: Despite setting season highs in total offense (532 yards) and rushing yards (336) in a 34-31 victory over Kent State last week, the Midshipmen played their worst game of the season, according to Coach Paul Johnson. Johnson said the Midshipmen, who turned over the ball four times against Kent State, must play better to defeat Rice, which averages 21.2 points per game. The Owls have played one of the nation's toughest schedules, including games against undefeated Texas and UCLA.
Little Bit of Both: Navy should move the ball against Rice, which has allowed opponents 481.8 yards per game. The Midshipmen's strength is a rushing attack that averages 267 yards per game -- fourth-highest in Division I-A -- and is led by senior quarterback Lamar Owens (410 yards, 2 TDs) and junior fullback Matt Hall (238 yards, 3 TDs). Junior wide receiver Jason Tomlinson (16 catches, 341 yards, 1 TD) has developed into a deep threat, becoming the first Navy player to amass more than 100 receiving yards in consecutive games since 1998.
Great Expectations: Today's game was originally scheduled for Sept. 24, but it was postponed because of the threat of Hurricane Rita. Rice has lost its past 11 games dating from last season, tied for the longest current losing streak in Division I-A. Navy needs three more victories to be eligible for a bowl game, and the Midshipmen have future games against Temple and Army, which are a combined 0-13.
-- Jon Gallo